Bedtime is tough at our house. It seems like no matter how exhausted we think the kids are, somebody has picked that night to attempt an all-nighter!
They try the typical reasons for coming out after bedtime, like needing a sip of water, forgetting to give mom and dad a hug and kiss, or remembering at the last minute some important detail for school the next day.
But, they also seem to find ways to stay awake in their rooms, in their beds, even long after the light has been turned out and we assumed they were asleep.
Sometimes we discover they were up late playing with toys or playing with a sibling.
Sometimes we discover they were up late trying on shoes.
And sometimes we find them still reading waaaaaaay after we said "get to a stopping place and turn out the light". (I think we need to clarify "stopping place".)
And so, regardless of the situation, bedtime seems to be the time of most resistance.
In fact, a couple weeks ago we had a particularly irritating bedtime experience. Jon and I had already gotten in bed and for some reason the kids were still having a hard time settling down. (In their defense, it may have been on a night we have small group, which means we probably didn't get home until after 9:00pm). It was about 10:00pm and little people were still coming into our room to ask a question, tell us something, or find out why a sibling was out of bed and in our room.
We finally said (shouted?) "Get in bed right now. It is way too late for you to be coming out. NO MORE coming out of your room!"
There was a great scurry of feet, and then, I heard a quiet voice in the hallway say to the others in a loud whisper, "Let's not obey."
Seriously? Were we really going to have to have a serious moral discussion right now, at this time of night, when I was this tired? Yes. We were. Because a blatant desire to disobey like that cannot be ignored.
So, we had an important discussion about obedience and the heart.
But later I kept thinking about that statement, "Let's not obey."
And I wonder if that's what we sound like to God sometimes? Trying to whisper secretly in the hallway as if He doesn't know the state of our heart and our failure to surrender all to Him and walk in complete obedience.
How many times do we KNOW we're supposed to say something about our faith to someone, but our flesh seems to whisper "Let's not obey"?
How often do we KNOW that we are about to make an unwise or selfish decision regarding our time or finances, but our flesh seems to whisper "Let's not obey"?
How many times do we continue to argue our point with our spouse even after the Holy Spirit has pressed on our hearts that we should humble ourselves, take the low place and let it go? Yet something inside seems to say "Let's not obey".
How often do we sit on our couch or in front of our computers knowingly wasting our time on frivolous or silly entertainment while a pressing need or responsibility sits unattended to? We know what we should do in the moment, but a part of us is screaming "Let's not obey".
Because obedience can be tough. Sometimes it means sacrificing our own wants or desires to meet the needs of someone else. Sometimes it means setting aside our own dreams for a little while to help someone else succeed. Sometimes it means giving up good things to focus on that which is best. Sometimes it means uprooting ourselves from the familiar to follow God to a new and unknown place. Obedience always means trusting God enough to follow Him no matter what.
And Jesus was clear on this point in John 14:
"If you love me you will obey what I command" (v. 15).
"Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me" (v. 21).
"If anyone loves me he will keep my word" (v. 23).
"Whoever does not love me does not keep my words" (v. 24).
"but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father" (v. 31).
We are usually quick to say that we love God. But are we quick to obey Him? And if my obedience is the indicator of how much I love God, what is the TRUE state of my heart?
I think its important that we consider these questions. Obedience is not just something for children to learn. We ALL must learn to live in obedience. Praise God that He is patient with our weaknesses! Praise God that He gives us the Holy Spirit to empower us to live like Christ!
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- His good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:1-2)
Lord help us walk in obedience to you...no matter what you ask us to do.